With UFC 136 in the books, there are plenty of possibilities to be found with the winners and losers. Be sure to catch up on our play by play done by Chris Roberts. With the dust settled, and Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard capping off their trilogy, it is time to play Joe Silva and see where five of the main fighters on this card will end up next.
Frankie Edgar vs. Gilbert Melendez – The big to do lately has been that Gilbert Melendez will be coming to the UFC soon, with everyone ignoring his upcoming match for the Strikeforce title this December. And if he’s coming over for a shot at proving his worth as one of the best fighters in the world then there’s only one matchup worthy of him: Frankie Edgar. With Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson in November, and this fight potentially over Super Bowl weekend, you have a challenger already built in for a spring 2012 title fight. With Melvin Guillard losing to Joe Lauzon taking him out of the title picture, Melendez and the winner of Henderson/Guida are the only suspects who would be considered appropriate for a title shot against Frankie Edgar.
Kenny Florian vs. Jim Miller – I think it’s pretty safe to say that Kenny Florian’s run in the featherweight division is over with his loss to Jose Aldo. If he chooses to soldier on and keep fighting there are a number of great fights left for him in his original home of the lightweight division. A good matchup would be against Miller, who lost to Ben Henderson after an impressive winning streak. Ken-Flo is still a tremendous gauge of how good a lightweight could be and one or two solid wins will get Miller back into the title hunt. A fight against Florian, and a victory, would help right the ship.
Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva – Sonnen defiantly threw down the gauntlet to the middleweight champion by dismantling the Marine Captain and Silver Star winner, then calling out Silva immediately thereafter. This is potentially the biggest fight of 2012 and a rematch over a year in the making. Does Sonnen have what it takes to continue what he started and finish Anderson Silva? Or was the first a fluke occurrence of an injured champion refusing to pull out of a fight? Sonnen looked incredible and if that’s the guy that shows up against Anderson then we’re going to have a new champion. This isn’t a guy fighting the same fight as normal; he put on a grappling class with Brian Stann in how he passed guard and got mount, et al.
Brian Stann vs. Vitor Belfort – Both guys have heavy hands and love to throw for the fences, with some spectacular knockouts between the two. Stann needs to rebuild himself after a loss to the #2 middleweight in the world. Belfort is still rebuilding after a spectacular knockout loss to Anderson Silva. This is a fight that has fireworks written all over it.
Gray Maynard vs. Melvin Guillard – Melvin and Gray are now going to have to play the waiting game for a title shot. Maynard had two times and couldn’t notch the W either time to Frankie Edgar. As long as Frankie has the belt, and it could be for some time, Maynard is going to be in the same spot as Jon Fitch is at welterweight. Guillard was on a hot streak and lost to someone nowhere near a title shot, unlike Jim Miller. You can justify him getting a title shot sooner because he lost to Ben Henderson, who was on the rise. Guillard lost to someone who has one victory over a fighter you can deem as being worth of the UFC and that’s about it. So a fight between the two could be fun and are similar fighters; heavy handed wrestlers who like throwing power shots. It’ll be a good rebuilding fight for both; Maynard is too good to be a gatekeeper and Guillard still could be a title contender. What better way of finding out if he has what it takes to see if he can take Maynard to the limit?
Tags: Brian Stann, Chael Sonnen, Five for Fighting, Frankie Edgar, Gilbert Melendez, Gray Maynard, Jim Miller, Kenny Florian, Melvin Guillard, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC 136, Vitor Belfort